$35,747 - $42,105

2016 Lexus RX 350 Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2016 Lexus RX 350 was new.


Performance: 8.0

Reviewers like the 2016 Lexus RX 350 as a comfortable and reliable daily driver, though they note that some competitors have more power and engaging handling. The Lexus rides smoothly over most surfaces, which critics appreciate. 

  • "No version of the 2016 Lexus RX can be called exciting, but Lexus has made some progress with the latest iteration of its best-selling vehicle. The RX F Sport now has the improved dynamics to back up its edgy styling and makes a convincing case for itself among its sportier competition." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "If you're already a fan of the RX, here's your new baby. Yes, it's quite different on the outside and refreshingly restyled within, but it drives like the way the RX long has. That is to say, comfort is the priority. It wafts along highways with the quiet determination of an artisan at work." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The powertrain, suspension, and driving dynamics all lean toward the comfort side of the luxury SUV spectrum. The RX is quiet and composed at all times. But contrary to the brand stereotype this vehicle is serene without being boring." -- Autoblog
  • "Otherwise, the latest RX drives a lot like the old RX -- and that's a good thing. It's smooth, it's predictable, it's comfortable and it's stable." -- AutoTrader

Acceleration and Power

The 2016 Lexus RX 350 features a 3.5-liter V6 engine that puts out 295 horsepower paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Lexus estimates that the RX 350 earns 19/26 mpg city/highway in all-wheel drive models and 20/28 in front-wheel drive models, both of which are good for a luxury midsize SUV.

The 2016 RX 350 offers ample power for most driving situations but is still less powerful than some rivals, according to test drivers. Most reviewers feel that the acceleration is uninspiring as well. Many critics praise the eight-speed transmission, which they say maximizes engine power and shifts smoothly.

  • "The RX 350 is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine redesigned for 2016 to produce an extra 25 horsepower, bringing output up to a more competitive 295 hp and 267 pound-feet of torque. Despite this and a standard eight-speed automatic transmission, however, acceleration remains on the slow side for the segment." -- Edmunds
  • "The transmission does hunt a bit in spirited driving, but with eight speeds to play with, that's to be expected. The result of that hunting is a vehicle that's always ready with power when you need it; the powertrain is really the best part of the RX experience." -- Cars.com
  • "The eight-speed automatic shifts quickly and smoothly, and visibility is better than ever, thanks to large front windows, a dashboard that's lower than before, and optional cameras that provide multiple extra vantage points, including a full 360-degree view around the car." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "Instead, our mainstay engine is once again a 3.5-liter V-6. The six has all the polish you'd expect, and it works well with the eight-speed automatic, which is now standard in all RX350 models, not just the F Sport." -- Car and Driver

Handling and Braking

The 2016 RX 350 comes with standard front-wheel drive, although all-wheel drive is available. It also has an optional adaptive variable suspension (AVS) that allows drivers to choose from several different drive modes, depending on road conditions. Test drivers report that the base RX 350 offers a generally smooth ride, although its handling and steering can feel imprecise. They add that drivers looking for a sportier feel should consider the RX 350 F Sport trim, which has larger wheels and a sport-tuned suspension and makes for a more engaging drive.

  • "Driving dynamics of this crossover have improved a bit in all models, but it still offers that cushy smooth ride with little roll and bounce its customers favor. For drivers who want a sportier driving experience and better handling, the F Sport model is there for the taking." -- Forbes
  • "The RX retains its heavily boosted steering and plush ride that will be instantly familiar to current owners. Alas, the soft ride comes at a cost of plentiful body motions over lumpy pavement and generous lean in corners." -- Car and Driver
  • "Dynamically, the RX goes something like a smoother, quieter Toyota Camry with slightly higher mass-or better, a Lexus ES 350 sedan. The marketing department might not like the concept, but in practical terms the RX 350 is an ES station wagon, and that's not a bad thing. Even without F-Sport, it can be engaging in a pleasant if not necessarily thrilling fashion." -- AutoWeek
  • "The fact that it remained comfortable and never harsh, even in the sportiest Sport S+ setting, is a testament not only to the improvement of the F Sport model, but to the dynamic capabilities of the RX in the general. For a vehicle that has always resided deep in comfort-first territory, the 2016 F Sport presents a newfound and very welcome balance." -- Edmunds
  • "Its steering is nicely balanced, but it feels slow to react. In normal driving through parking lots and on interstate roads, it won't be an issue, but when trying to negotiate switchbacks or mountain twisties, it becomes more apparent. The RX 350 is prone to understeer in both front- and all-wheel-drive versions, with pronounced body roll that makes the heavy SUV push through corners instead of slice neatly through them." -- Cars.com

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